Choose Wisely, Get Educated

I AM Omoni Oboli and I represent Naija! The year has kicked off! There’s no smiling, it would seem, with many Nigerians as the election campaign drums have started rolling. Let the contest begin! I sure hope that many who are out there debating in their various camps have taken the all too important time out to go and get their permanent voters card. There’s no sense in fighting for your preferred party (for those going through the party route) or candidate (for those going through the personalities and not the party route) if your support is only verbal and your desperately needed vote is no where to be found. That would be sad!

      Nigerians have been inundated with information after information about the various parties and candidates. I can’t believe how much research has been done by Nigerians since the campaign started. Suddenly we are awake to our responsibility to seek the knowledge of our nation and the history that has been unwittingly or deliberately been nonexistent before now. We have lies and counter-lies, allegations and counter allegations about the candidates. Most of which is going on in the social media networks. Who is telling the truth or who is lying? People will believe anything as long as it speaks for their candidate and against the opposition. No one seems to be interested in the truth or the facts of the matter. There seems to be a deliberate mental block of any wholesome information speaking of the achievements of an opposing party. People are spreading mantras till they start believing that they are true even in the face of its inconsistencies. The animosity between people who had hitherto never met has pervaded our polity, so that the enemy has become ourselves and our battle is against ourselves. When did we become this way? When did we become so angry that we are unwilling to hear truth unless it’s against the opposition?

       The society we all are craving for should be our primary concern, and we don’t want to be wrong about our decision. It is true that a people mostly get a leader they deserve. Looking around me, I see a people who have gone through a long walk through deeply militarised thinking that the attributes of a leader has become synonymous with brashness and not dialogue or by example. This is why many of us are our boss’s nightmare when he or she is kind and patient with us, but we give our eye-service best to the bosses who oppress and stifle our basic required freedom. We can be civil in our approach towards each other in choosing who’s best for our nation by sticking to issues backed by evidence instead of resorting to violence, or people bashing to prove our points, which aren’t points anyways unless they can be defended. 

       I get the point that we all love our country, and want what’s best for us, but in seeking the best, let’s not lose our sense of reasoning, or fail to do our due diligence to ascertain the facts from unbiased sources. It’s hard nowadays to mention words or to even listen to ministrations without each word or ministration begging the question of its meaning and inclination towards one party or the other. Normal conversations have become political. We, like the politicians will put all our energy and effort into learning about candidates and our history, but we will fizzle out as soon as the elections are over. Then four years after, we will start all over again to reeducate ourselves. We have to sustain our knowledge so that we can become more abreast and focussed with our nation and the direction we want it to move to. 

      Whatever the case, the winner of the election should be serving us and not us serving him. The leader would have to build on what is already on ground running so that we learn to start something and finish it. Our quest for change for change sake should be ditched to usher in an era that may start with pain, but on further scrutiny we will see that it offers a long term solution to longstanding problems. Let’s hear everyone’s best laid plan of how they will drive our nation to the future before we can trust anyone with the keys to our nation’s resources. We can only do this if we have a clear understanding of what our future should be without forgetting our past history to repeat our mistakes. 

          Nigeria is a nation of people who have gone through the fire and have come out scorched, beaten, broken, full of distrust and trampled on, but that is not our story anymore. We have grown stronger with each passing day under a true democracy of government by the civilians. We have proven that even in our chaotic state we can still function and stand strong. We don’t want to remain where we are, but we’re not afraid to tread softly as we advance towards our dream country. The insurgency, the disillusionment, the kidnaps and many criminal acts that have tried to derail us from pressing on will not prevail against our resilience and the grace of God in Jesus name! 

     It’s okay to choose your candidate without fear under this government, thank God, but let us put our liberty to good use rather than test it out to see its efficacy by swaying towards a wrong decision for us all. Keep smiling!

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